Thursday, October 24, 2013

New heat treatment furnace

I got the last major piece of equipment that I needed for efficient tomahawk making delivered and set up today:  a 27" deep Evenheat heat treatment furnace!

After continued setbacks and disasters (some of which made loud BOOM!s) in trying to re-wire a ceramic kiln to use a digital controller, I threw in the towel and ordered the Evenheat.  It was delivered early this morning.  Rather than try to back the delivery truck up to my shop, we offloaded it into the back of my pickup.

About that time my buddy Tobin Nieto ( arrived and helped me unpack and set up everything.


Checking everything out.

These furnaces are intended to be used horizontally, but I am setting mine up vertically.  We laid down some large firebricks between the furnace and the cement slab first.

Rather than cut a hole in the brand new door, we removed it and replaced it with a kiln floor I had obtained.

We trimmed it, cut some slots to fit over the door hinge, and added a couple of carriage bolts to keep it from accidentally getting bumped off.  We had already cut a slit in the top to suspend the 'hawk blanks through.

And finally, a successful test-firing!  Woohoo!  Ready to roll!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tooling up

Here are some racks and such that I've been working on with the help of a couple of buddies to use in 'hawk making.

First up is the handle that I'll use to suspend the 'hawk blanks in the heat treatment furnace for normalizing and hardening.

It's sitting on top of a temporary lid for my kiln (which I will usually use for tempering and baking the Durabake finish) that will let me do the normalizing and hardening while waiting for my new Evenheat heat treatment furnace to be shipped.

These three racks all have their intended specialization.  The one in the front is built to fit inside the kiln and let the tomahawks hang while they temper and while the Durabake cures.  The one in the middle is for hanging the 'hawk blanks to air cool during the normalizing phase.

And the one against the wall is to store and organize the blanks waiting to be worked on.  Much better than sitting in stacks on the floor as I showed earlier!

Believe it or not, it holds all 60-odd blanks that are cut from a 4' x 8' sheet of 1/4" 4140 plate.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Hi, everyone.  I know it's been a bit slow around here, but I just wanted to let y'all know that I'm working to get Helm Enterprises, Forging Division a-rollin'.  There's a new heat treatment furnace on its way, I'm working on building the CAD files to get knife blanks cut, and in general things are moving forward. 

In fact, I'm going on a hiatus from taking new commissions of my forged blades in part to catch up on them and in part to get everything as it needs to be on the stock removal side of things.

There are tomahawks being worked on at the moment, and more forthcoming.  We aren't sitting still around here!